Monday, February 13, 2012

Freud and the Talmud: Sinning for the sake of Heaven


By Michael Hoffman

The Babylonian Talmud (BT) in tractate Kiddushin 40a begins with a teaching of Rabbi Chanina that, ”It is preferable for a person to commit a sin in private and not desecrate the name of Heaven in public.”

The Talmud then asserts the teaching, ”If a person sees that their evil inclination is overcoming them they should go to a place where they are not known and cover themselves with black clothes and do the evil there.“

Many classic rabbinic authorities (Tosafot Toch and Tosafot HaRosh) acknowledge that this passage condones sinning.

“Sin for the Sake of Heaven” 

The meaning of this rabbinic terminology is doing something that is clearly wrong (a sin) but with a good intention (for the sake of Heaven). (Cf. Steinsaltz Iyunim on Kiddushin 40a ad. loc).

This rabbinic teaching on a Sin for the Sake of Heaven recognizes that sinning may at times be necessary and if done sincerely, has legitimacy.

This wretched dogma permeated Judaic cuture and was inherited even by those Judaic persons who were not religious. We observe this Talmudic mentality reflected in Judaic activity in many fields such as politics (the "atheist” Judaic Bolsheviks) and in psychiatry, as pioneered by Sigmund Freud, who is reputed to have represented an enlightened liberal departure from staid traditions of the past.

Freud, however, did indeed imbibe the Talmudic traditions of his native culture, including the unscrupulous immorality which gave him a "heavenly" mandate to lie and cheat for the sake of a higher good (Sin for the sake of Heaven).

The late Dr. Frank Cioffi, professor of philosophy at England's University of Essex, stated that Freud imposed his ideas about sexuality and neuroses on his patients by voicing them though the stories of his patients, regardless of whether his patients actually told these stories.

Cioffi: "When he decided that neurosis was rooted in sexual fantasies about one's parents, for instance, Freud made certain his patients 'remembered' such fantasies, whether they really remembered them or not."

Cioffi furnished evidence of Freud’s dishonesty by quoting Freud’s own description of his justification for “constructing" his patients’ statements. The description can be found in the famous psychiatrist's authorized, three-volume biography, which contains the following statement by him:

 "Quite often we do not succeed in bringing the patient to recollect what has been repressed. Instead we produce in him an assured conviction of the truth of the construction, which achieves the same therapeutic result as a recaptured memory." (Ernest Jones, The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud, Basic Books: 1981).

In other words, Freud was justified in tricking his patient into believing that Freud’s fabrication was the patient’s own reality because it achieved a "therapeutic result." While Freud would not employ theological terms, the spirit of his intellectual dishonesty emanated from a culture steeped in rabbinic dissimulation, in “sinning for the sake of Heaven.” By this means God is made an accomplice in the imposture.

For more on Freud and Judaism cf. Judaism's Strange Gods (2011), pp. 295-296.

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